Former student describes brutal culture of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying at Nex Benedict’s high school

Author: John Russell

A little over two months after the death of trans teen Nex Benedict, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a new ad featuring an Owasso High School alum describing the culture of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying she experienced first-hand at the school Benedict attended.

Chief among those elected officials is Oklahoma’s anti-LGBTQ+ Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters (R). Even before Benedict’s death drew national attention, Walters had already been criticized by Republican and Democratic state lawmakers for appointing Chaya Raichik, the anti-LGBTQ+ hate influencer behind Libs of TikTok, to Oklahoma’s library advisory committee in January.

In a February 28 letter to the Oklahoma state legislature following Benedict’s death, over 350 public figures and LGBTQ+ rights groups urged lawmakers to remove Walters. And in March, HRC launched “Walters Watch,” a campaign to hold Walters accountable for what the organization described as his “extremist rhetoric and mismanagement of Oklahoma schools” which it says has led to a culture of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and harassment.

“We’ve heard many students at Owasso and elsewhere in Oklahoma speak truth to power and stand up against the culture of bullying and harassment fostered by people like Ryan Walters,” Robinson said in a statement. “Marley’s story breaks our hearts as much as it angers us. There is a way forward, however. Each time someone speaks out about what they have seen, experienced, or heard, the truth becomes harder and harder to deny. The first step on the journey to healing is for Ryan Walters to go.”

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at The Trans Lifeline (1-877-565-8860) is staffed by trans people and will not contact law enforcement. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for youth via chat, text (678-678), or phone (1-866-488-7386). Help is available at all three resources in English and Spanish.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: John Russell

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